I’ve never been a big fan of the term “closing”. Perhaps it’s because I feel like I’m talking at someone using some 1970’s line that went out with the leisure suit.
We’ve all been force fed the old adage that we should utilize the "ABC’s" (Always Be Closing). Personally, I think that philosophy makes the recipient want to roll up a newspaper and swat you away the way you would if Rover were making time with your leg but I'm a complex carbohydrate when it comes my opinions.
Sorry to say this but if you are always closing, chances are pretty good that you are pissing off a lot of people!
Perhaps its time to change our thinking to a more collaborative, grammatically incorrect, Always Be getting Commitments. Here are a few ways you can do that so you keep advancing forward towards the ultimate commitment . . . The Sale
Homework: At the end of every appointment there needs to be action by both parties. Why both parties? So it creates a collaborative relationship and you both (yes I said both) test drive what its like to work together. Example: “Linda, looks like we both have some homework to do. I will arrange for a Crossmedia demo and you will arrange to have Mr. Grand Pooba join us next time”
General next steps: These are simple advancing maneuvers to keep you moving forward and the prospect getting into a comfort zone.
Tour of Your Facility
Tour of Their Facility
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Meeting for Starbucks
Follow Up Meeting
Getting You Budget Info
Sharing Pricing Info With You
Getting Other Players Involved (Your team and their team)
Working them up some numbers, generating a proposal
Commitments: One of the most important commitments you need to get from them (as early as possible) is an upfront agreement to give you a decision either way. Doing this will reduce the likelihood of the prospect going M.I.A. on you. I generally go about it like this: “Mr./Ms. Prospect, hopefully you feel I was open and honest with you during our meeting today?” Wait for their response. “At some point, you will make a decision. If the answer is Yes, Yes is always good and obviously I make my living on Yeses. If it’s No, well No’s aren’t as good as a Yes, but at least I know where I stand with you. The worst place for me to be is not hearing an answer from you because its difficult to know how to proceed with you at that point. Can we agree that whether it’s a Yes or a No you will give me that feedback?”
It’s really important that you have an opportunity to make commitments to the prospect as well so they can experience what its like to work with you. During this process, I highly recommend that you use the following tactic http://salesplaybook.blogspot.com/2009/03/play-23-jedi-mind-trick.html
I’d like to leave you with a thought. Imagine you are single and you are at an event of some sort. You see someone who is attractive and seems like your type. You gather up your courage, approach this person and say “Would you marry me?” Just for the record, you were dead serious. You were actually hoping they would accept your proposal when you have barely said “hello”. Kind of makes you want to step outside yourself long enough to pat yourself on the head and call yourself “Forrest” doesn’t it.
Hope you found that amusing because that’s exactly what sales people do when they deploy that Always be Closing monkey style kung fu!
Stop closing and start getting commitments and you won’t have to propose to your prospects. You’ll also avoid some rather awkward one night stands.